ights! Camera! Action! Starting in the entertainment industry is certainly not as easy one-two-three. It takes perseverance, sacrifice, and an unfaltering belief in yourself to survive in an industry that breaks more hearts than the final season on Lost. MOD spoke to two actors, one based in Los Angeles and one out of New York, about their trials, successes, and advice to those starting out and hoping to make it big.
MOD: How do you maintain your need
to be creatively fulfilled and financially stable? Jessica: I have a very amazing support group! Although I am not constantly working, I go to as many classes
MOD: The industry is competitive and there is no shortage of amazingly talented people. How do you differentiate yourself from the pack? Zak: You have to find the things that make you uniquely castable, and market yourself toward that. I’m a young-looking, American-asapple-pie kind of guy with a high legit, as opposed to pop, voice and some tap dancing chops, so I make sure that I get in for classic or classic style shows. Being self aware and playing to your strengths, and learning to hide your weaknesses, is a big part of the auditioning game. Jessica: I think we are all unique people, and the best way to differentiate yourself is to be you. That means being the best you possible.
Jessica Carter Ramsey is in her late twenties and moved from the Big Apple to LA to pursue her dream of acting on screen. “Acting was the first place that I fit in just by being myself,”Ramsey says. “I started out in musical theatre, which I really loved, but I decided to change over to on-camera acting because I love how honest you have to be since the camera can be so close and captures it all.” Zak Edwards, also in his late twenties, is based in New York City, but travels across the country to wherever his work as a musical theater performer takes him. From Denver to Florida to a national tour of Young Frankenstein the Musical, Edwards may perform the same show night after night, but the scenery is ever-changing.“I grew up in a family that loves musical theater,”Edwards notes.“I knew from the moment I stepped foot in a theater that I loved it.”
Zak: That’s one of the hardest things about my business. Financial instability is almost impossible to avoid, which leads to having to compromise creativity. I’ve had to turn down roles I would love to play because I needed to take a job that paid better but wasn’t as fulfilling. And that’s when I’m lucky enough to book jobs at all. Really, you just have to slog through the financial stuff and find ways to keep yourself fulfilled artistically, even if they don’t make you money.
and workshops as I can, even auditions can push and teach you creatively. It is also very important to do your research on casting directors, agents, and acting coaches to make sure you get the most out of each opportunity.
MOD: If you could tell your 18 year-old self something, what would it be? Jessica: I think I would tell my 18 yearold self that it’s hard, but it gets better and to not let small things get to you. There will always be people who don’t agree or